That dire forecast from the Old Farmer's Almanac has been shared a gazillion times on social media. We're going to be buried with snow and then freeze. I've even seen headlines that the "Polar Vortex" is coming back! I really hope not because that term was so misused in the first place. The polar vortex is actually a thing, but it never moves this far south. Think of the polar vortex as the chain link fence that's holding the dog in. That fence is built within a few thousand miles of the North Pole and contains the most bitter air in the world! In 2012, the dog did get out of the fence and we were dealt with blow after blow of significant cold. The dog made it out of the fence, but the fence didn't move.
Okay, there was your Cliff's Notes lesson on the PV.
So are we in for that type of cold this Winter? My hunch is "No." However, I can say with a pretty high degree of confidence that this upcoming winter will be colder than last winter. But in all actuality, there's a pretty decent chance it may end up right near normal.
The official forecast from the long-range forecasting arm of the National Weather Service issues monthly forecasts (shown below). Those forecasts take a lot of different factors into account, not limited to the polar vortex, Alaska and Atlantic oscillation of the jet stream, and whether El Niño or La Niña is happening.
Keep in mind, the colors on the map don't necessarily reflect how hot or cold the temperatures will be. Instead, the colors represent the chance that it will be warm or cold, compared to normal. The brighter colors indicate a better likelihood that temperatures will be far from normal.
For us, we will likely remain warmer than normal through October and November. However, once we get into February, there's a better chance we'll be below normal! Keep in mind, while the typical high today is 75 degrees (and we're forecasting 85), the average for much of November is in the 40s. So, with an above normal forecast, 50s will be more likely.
We'll probably be done with the 80 degree temperatures in a week or two.
-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen